Garnett carries Celtics to 99-95 win over Raptors


Garnett carries Celtics to 99-95 win over Raptors

TORONTO You don't build up the kind of Hall of Fame credentials that Kevin Garnett has without dominating a game or two along the way.
Even at 36, KG still has it in him to be the best player on the floor -- even if he's the oldest.
The Toronto Raptors found that out on Wednesday night as Garnett carried the Celtics to a 99-95 win.
It was his 12-foot fadeaway jumper with less than a minute to play that put the Celtics ahead 96-91 in what eventually turned out to be the game-winning basket.
But the Raptors weren't done.
After cutting Boston's lead to three points, Toronto forced Paul Pierce into a tough off-balance shot that rimmed out. In the scramble for the rebound, it eventually sailed out of bounds off of Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan with 18 seconds to play.
From there, Toronto intentionally fouled Jeff Green who made the second free throw with 17.6 seconds to play that gave the C's a 97-93 lead.
Rudy Gay had two shots around the basket -- both misses -- with the loose ball eventually being rebounded by Courtney Lee who was immediately fouled with 9.8 seconds to play.
Lee made both free throws to finally put the game away.
Boston (25-23) has now five straight, with Wednesday's victory being their first away from the TD Garden.
Garnett was indeed the one that led the way, but not too far behind him was Leandro Barbosa who had 14 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter.
After falling behind by 10 points going into the fourth, the Celtics opened the quarter with a 7-0 spurt capped off by a 12-foot pull-up jumper by Jason Terry off a Jeff Green steal.
Toronto called a time-out, well aware that they were looking at yet another second-half collapse, which has been one of the constants with their team all season.
"We have to get better at finishing games off," Toronto big man Amir Johnson said prior to the game.
Toronto had a stretch earlier this year in which they led at the half in nine straight games, but came away losers six times.
Wednesday had the makings of another late-game collapse for the Raptors, and an impressive comeback for the Celtics.
An improbable over the shoulder shot by Garnett plus the free throw, tied the game at 79.
But the Raptors were not willing to concede this one, as they continued to make the most of Boston's mistakes.
After a lay-up by Kyle Lowry off a bad pass by Boston put the Raptors ahead 83-81, it was the Raptor's 26th point off of 13 Celtics turnovers.
After seemingly righting their ways in the second quarter, they reverted back to committing the many miscues that had them in a back-and-fourth tussle with the Raptors earlier in the game.
Specifically, their turnovers.
It wasn't so much that the Celtics had that many.
It's just that when they made a mistake, the Raptors quickly capitalized on it with points of their own.
And making matters worst, Garnett picked up his fourth personal foul with 6:48 to play in the third quarter which immediately sent him to the bench.
Garnett on the sideline is never a good look for the Celtics, especially on a night like Wednesday when he was scoring the ball with such ease.
While his departure was relatively close to when he usually sits, his absence and the absence of anyone filling his void, was apparent.
Within a couple of minutes, Boston saw itself looking up to a 69-65 deficit following a dunk by Andrea Bargnani.
But the Celtics dealt with that adversity in the same manner they have done of late -- deal with it, and after that, get the win.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night. 
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely. 
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown. 
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game. 


James Harden

The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers. 
Isaiah Thomas

He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half. 

Jaylen Brown

He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.

Trevor Ariza

He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.


Jonas Jerebko

He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts.